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Tuatara Cafe & Bar

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Invercargill, Invercargill
Accommodation, Dinner, Event, Exhibition, Function, Meeting, Wedding

Nicola McGilvray and Chris Ellenden are the powerhouse couple behind Tuatara Café, a downtown Invercargill craft beer bar, brewery and arty pizzeria.

When the 30-32 block of Dee Street was scheduled for demolition, the couple knew they couldn’t stand by while a historic Invercargill building was laid to waste. They bought it. Chris strengthened the building himself and the two then set out to turn the café and bar area into a venue that would provide value for locals and tourists alike. Both Nicola and Chris are creative, dynamic individuals and their array of interesting projects all seem to link back to Tuatara.

Nicola, a talented painter, has made use of the vaulted ceilings and exposed brick walls to showcase local artists’ work as well as her own. Chris, on the other hand, has used his experience as a brewing tank manufacturer to build a gravity-fed brewery out the back of the café. This is in addition to the cider label ‘Gadoochi’ that the couple have developed over the last few years using spray free apples from heritage fruit trees in central Otago. Gadoochi is on tap at Tuatara and lives somewhere far outside the scope of the cider you find at the supermarket. The ‘Mad Granny’ is the absolute driest cider you’ll find, while ‘Old Henry’s’ has a bit of a Pilsner taste with apple undertones. Snag a tasting tray and try them all.

After a few ciders, or any of the South Island craft beers that are on tap here, you’ll be ready for a snack. Tuatara’s robust pizzas, prepared by chef Cesare Pudda, are hot, wholesome and filling and come heaped with generous portions of whatever toppings you choose. And if it’s nice out, you can sit in the sunny back courtyard


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